A few years ago, George W. Bush stated “America will not impose our own style of living on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others to find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.” Nevertheless the United States’ actions in Latin America are proof that exactly the opposite is true. This film by John Pilger is about the struggle of people to free themselves from a modern form of slavery. It describes how those with next to nothing show extraordinary strength and courage defending the most basic of human rights in a war being waged against all of us.
It was Richard M. Nixon who once said of Latin America that “people don’t give a shit about the place”. He was wrong because the plan of the United States of America as an empire was to take over and rule an entire continent, referred to contemptuously as ‘the back yard’.
The existence of an American empire is rarely acknowledged. It’s usually hidden behind a subtle arrogance that secretly believes that no country has a right to go its own way unless that way coincides with the interests of the United States. But empires have nothing to do with freedom; they are about conquest and control. Since 1945 the United States has attempted to overthrow 50 governments. In the process, 30 countries have been attacked and bombed taking the lives of countless civilians. The list is long and includes countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela.
The good news is that throughout Latin America, especially South America, people are fighting back. What Hugo Chavez started in Venezuela in 1999, has spread to other countries. There is now a host of leaders offering new beginnings. If these new leaders succumb, their biggest threat may not come from Washington, but from the people on the hillsides; the people who are fed up of being poor while the resources and riches of their countries are being stolen out of their hands and placed in the pockets of an elite group.
Chavez described it as an awakening. He quoted the words of Victor Hugo when he said that ‘there’s nothing quite as powerful as an idea whose time has come’. It’s time for the world to be ruled by laws of equality, justice, and fraternity.